Talking Heads' Byrne sues Florida Gov Crist for song

Mon May 24, 2010 8:59pm EDT
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - If a three-way race for the Senate isn't enough for Florida Governor Charlie Crist to grapple with, he now has another, more lyrical opponent: David Byrne, former frontman of the Talking Heads.

Byrne sued Crist in a Florida federal court on Monday for allegedly using the 1985 Talking Heads hit "Road To Nowhere" in a campaign commercial and is seeking $1 million in damages, according to his attorney.

Crist's campaign used the song to deride his opponent Marco Rubio in an online commercial that was available on his campaign website and YouTube for a few days in January, said Lawrence Iser, who is representing Byrne.

"They didn't approach anybody, they didn't ask anybody, they just used it," Iser said.

The use of the song not only constitutes copyright infringement, but it also violates the Lanham Act, said Iser, as it falsely suggests that Byrne endorses Crist's candidacy.

Byrne said in a statement that he has never licensed a song for use in an advertisement.

"I'm a bit of a throwback that way, as I still believe songs occasionally mean something," Byrne said.

He added that if his audience thought he'd license a song to a political campaign, "they might not respect me as much in the morning."   Continued...

<p>U.S. musician David Byrne attends a conference with public before screening his movie "True Stories" at the Estoril Film Festival in this November 13, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Hugo Correia</p>